Today it seems an infinite number of cosmetics, personal care and fragrance companies, as well as beauty tech entrepreneurs, are launching brands and businesses. And, the indie beauty movement shows no sign of slowing down. Here, Deanna Utroske, a globally sought-after speaker and industry commentator, maps out a number of brand accelerators that exist to serve entrepreneurs and help engineer brands to compete in this new, dynamic marketplace.

Both accelerators and incubators do good work, helping brands emerge and excel. But they offer distinctly different opportunities. They also turn out brands at disparate levels of preparedness.

Incubators help brands in their formative stage. Accelerators, on the other hand, partner with brands that are up and running for a short stretch of time, and make introductions, facilitate connections and help navigate more entrenched beauty business functions—sourcing, manufacturing, retailing and marketing.

Accelerators also propel brands into the industry so they will be ready to compete with brands led by multinationals.

Entrepreneurs, investors, retailers, corporations and educational institutions are all running accelerators, making the introductions and pointing out the partnerships that can forever change the fortune of a business.

There are, of course, accelerators dedicated exclusively to the beauty industry; while others welcome brands from a spectrum of businesses and have perhaps a regional focus, a tech focus, or some other such specialty connecting the assembled brands.

The XXcelerate Fund, for instance, has a regional and demographic focus. This accelerator works specifically with women-led businesses in Oregon. Recently, The XXcelerate Fund welcomed Palette Naturals to its cohort. Palette Naturals is a business venture led by Miriam Vareldzis that supplies personal care and fragrance makers with natural accords as well as with complete, transparent ingredient lists for those accords.

Miriam describes the opportunity as “a year-long program for women-owned, Oregon-based, in-revenue businesses created to educate and prepare our companies for funding and sustainable, scalable growth.”

She was accepted into the program this spring, when her company was just over six months old. Now, she tells me, “approaching our one-year anniversary, I’m transitioning from a purely creative role ([during] the 15 months of R&D leading up to the launch last year), to more of a creative/ceo role; looking at the company holistically. I’m learning to both work ‘on’ my business as well as work ‘in’ my business as we move forward.”

Another regional program that’s welcomed at least one beauty startup recently takes place in Guelph, Ontario. Altilis Beauty, led by biochemist Kenna Whitnell, participated in Innovation Guelph, a conglomerate of regional accelerators in southwestern Ontario. And, this year, the conglomerate designated Whinell’s brand Startup of the Year.

The SV BeautyTech Accelerator (a joint venture between IgniteXL and Draper University) is, as you may expect, dedicated to accelerating companies specializing in technology-driven beauty businesses.

Earlier this year Sindhya Valloppillil, Co-Founder and CEO at SkinGenie, (along with eight other beauty tech companies) was invited to join the fast-paced, three-week SV BeautyTech Accelerator.

Universities such as The University of Michigan are running accelerators and supporting new beauty ventures too. Color cosmetics startup Sahi Cosmetics participated in The U of M program, known as the Desai Accelerator the accelerator, late last year.

Retailers including Sephora, Target and Sally Beauty all host beauty accelerator programs. And, personal care corporations such as Unilever and brands such as Burt’s Bees are in the acceleration business now.

It’s worth noting as well that service providers—ingredient suppliers, distributors, PR firms and consulting agencies—are offering more and more full-service solutions to win over indie beauty clients.

The tech-driven distribution platform Umma is doing this, helping Korean-based startups accelerate their businesses and prepare them for launch in the US market. The distribution company Crème Collective has been offering beauty startups branding and creative services for five years now.

And, i5 Beauty Foundry, a new consulting venture headed up by Liz Bishop, offers a broad spectrum of services to effectively incubate or accelerate client brands. It seems that almost everyone with a stake in beauty today sees value in helping entrepreneurs build a better business fast. More

About the Author

Deanna Utroske covers daily beauty business news in the Americas region for the online trade publication Cosmetics Design where she also publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands. Beyond Cosmetics Design, you can find Deanna Utroske on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.